From 18 June Hampton Court Palace and Hillsborough Castle will reopen their gardens and outdoor spaces to welcome visitors for the first time since March.
Both attractions have installed a raft of new measures to ensure visitor safety, including hand washing and sanitation facilities, enhanced cleaning regimes, and clear social distancing guidelines and one-way routes. Capacity will be limited to allow visitors to maintain 2 metre distancing, meaning visitors must book a timed-entry slot online in advance, with new time slots released every Monday. All till points and payments will be contactless, and visitors will be required to print their tickets in advance or display them on a mobile device.
Visitors to Hampton Court Palace will be able to take in stunning Tudor and Baroque architecture whilst journeying through the palace courtyards to the spectacular formal gardens, which have been maintained by a team of dedicated gardeners throughout the lockdown period. A new sculpture trail has also been installed, featuring a host of historical characters and bringing to life the story of the palace and its remarkable residents.
At Hillsborough Castle, visitors can follow new self-guided trails such as the Garden Highlights Tour which includes horticultural and historical delights such as Lady Alice Temple, or the Yew Tree Walk which provides stunning photo opportunities in the shaded groves and quiet woodlands. The Explorer’s Trail is ideal for families who want to uncover hidden places and secret corners, as well as taking in the lake which is abundant with wildlife.
Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that cares for both properties, is hoping visitors will show their support for its national treasures by returning for a visit this summer. The charity is dependent on visitor incoming and is facing a £96 million shortfall in its finances following the prolonged closures. The return of visitors will make a vital contribution to the charity’s work caring for its properties and sharing its stories with the public.
Lucy Hutchings, Head of Hampton Court Palace said, “We are delighted to be welcoming visitors back to the palace again. Hampton Court Palace was built to be enjoyed by hundreds of people and it’s been sad to see it so quiet over the past few months. Myself and the team can’t wait to welcome visitors back again and give them a suitably royal welcome. We’ve never needed their support more – each visit is an important contribution to help us maintain this wonderful building for generations to come.”
Laura McCorry, Head of Hillsborough Castle said, “We are delighted to be opening our doors again and hope our beautiful gardens will provide a much needed dost of beauty and tranquillity to all our visitors. We are facing a huge shortfall in our finances this year – the support of our members and visitors has simply never been more important. Our charity urgently needs support to continue important work conserving and caring for this remarkable site, and so we are thrilled to be welcoming visitors back this week.”
To book a visit, make a donation, become a member or visit the online shop, please go to the Historic Royal Palaces website.